A doctor who was hoping for spiritual enlightenment on a yoga retreat was left with a fractured spine after being dropped during a circle of trust exercise.
A doctor who was hoping for spiritual enlightenment on a yoga retreat was left with a fractured spine after being dropped during a circle of trust exercise.

Doctor broke spine during spiritual retreat exercise

A Sydney doctor who was hoping for spiritual enlightenment on a yoga retreat was left with a fractured spine after being dropped during a "circle of trust" exercise.

Surry Hills GP Susanne Wigge launched legal action after the Kundalini­ teaching course in the Kangaroo Valley went wrong.

Documents tabled in the NSW Supreme­ Court show Dr Wigge paid $4500 to attend the program run by Kathryn McCusker's business KMYOGA­ in 2014.

"The plaintiff (Dr Wigge) alleges that on June 10, 2014 … she took part in what is described as a 'circle of trust' exercise where students would stand in a circle and catch one of their number­ who stood in the middle," the documents said.

Surry Hills GP Susanne Wigge
Surry Hills GP Susanne Wigge

 

 

"When (Dr Wigge) allowed herself to 'fall' she was not caught by her fellow students. Instead, she fell onto the floor and, subsequently learned, suffered a fracture of her thoracic­ spine." The circle of trust is a key exercise in Kundalini yoga as it is said to builds faith between the teachers and students.

KMYOGA has since gone into liquidation­. Last month Ms Wigge was forced to switch the first defendant of her claim from KMYOGA to its insurer­, Allianz.

Justice Christine Adamson said the case will hinge on whether yoga - particularly Kundalini yoga - is sport or exercise, and whether an exclusion­ in the Allianz­ insurance policy needed an additional comma in the wording "sport exercise and activity".

Ms McCusker, who previously ran her business from Sydney, now lives in London where she offers Kundalini yoga retreats as well as other classes.

Kundalini focuses on the divine femininity and participants are taught to feel like they have a snake in their spine. Through various exercises, the snake is awakened and channelled through six chakras that reside in the spine.

Ms McCusker recently offered a Kundalini teaching course starting last month in London. Advertising­ the package on her website she wrote tat "EVOLUTION" would accompany students on their "spiritual journey".

"We are an internationally renowned team of teachers coming together­ to offer the teachings, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Working with a dynamic approach, we are a young and lively team of experienced teachers and trainers of various backgrounds - trauma therapist, energetic and physical anatomy therapist, mantra and voice specialist and asana specialist," it said.